Some of the best Bali beaches we visited
Who could go to Bali and not visit at least one of the many beautiful beaches the island has to offer? Not only did we visit one but several others and would have probably been to more if time had allowed. Aside from needing more time, the fact that we had a motorbike proved to make some of the locations a bit out of reach for us. While there are other transportation options available, such as taxis or cars for hire, we preferred to do the exploring on our own. The motorbike also gave us an opportunity to see the island from a more unique prespective. When you are able to feel the wind in our hair, you tend to take in more with all of your senses.
At first glance, the island may seem very small. I mean, when you look at it on a map and see this tiny little spec just hiding in between the other Indonesian islands, you might think that getting from one end to the other might take a couple of hours at most. Well, after living on the island for just about two months, we learned that getting to some of the locations from the western area where we lived could take several hours.
We had the good fortune to be able to stay on an extended tourist visa and have the opportunity to see the many different facets of Bali. While most of our days were spent working online, we managed to carve out some off days to visit the sites. Of course, my favorite spots are the beaches and the coast. However, we did spend some time inland, in the Ubud region.
The beached we were able to visit during our time are mainly on the western and southwestern coasts. That is not to say that there are not any good beaches along the eastern coast. On the contrary, we heard that Amed beach offered great snorkeling and diving. Unfortunately, we did not get to visit this beach as it would have been a 2+ hours on the motorbike. Along with Amed beach, there are several others on the eastern coast that get great reviews on Tripadvisor if you like to pay them a visit.
Lets start with the western side of Bali and make our way down.
Seminyak is an area of Bali that contains an overwhelming number of high end boutiques and eateries. It is the hub of some of the highest rated restaurants, cafes, and shops that appeal to tourists on holiday from the more Western societies such as Australia, Europe, and the U.S. The streets of Seminyak are comparable to some of the more posh destinations of southern California and while they offer the comforts of the western world, they are not at all any depiction of the real Bali.
The beach here is a long stretch of sand, littered with lounge chairs that can be rented bye the hour as well as colorful beanbag chairs that provide a relaxing spot for a drink at one of the many bars that line the beach. On the northern end, you can enjoy drinks and food at such places as Ku De Ta, where they pride themselves on being one of the best fine dining restaurants in Bali and provide a sophisticated venue where the sunshine and sunset can be enjoyed all year round.
Making your way further south, you will have more relaxed and casual options for dining. One of the many bars that provide comfy seats on the sand is La Plancha. People love the chilled out atmosphere of these places. Especially if you have been on the beach all day and want a refreshing drink to enjoy with your significant other, friends, or family as you watch the sun go down. Every night provides a beautiful sunset here.
Be aware that there are many, many vendors that walk the beach trying to sell you anything from bracelets, kites, hats, sunglasses, ice cream, fake tattoos, and on the spot massages. It is a never ending battle to get rid of them if you are not interested in purchasing nything and can put a damper on your peace at times. The key is to just say no and not engage in any conversation with the vendor. Having additional dialogue seems to give them the idea that they may be able to persuade you after some time.
This beach is also great for running!
Kuta is a very popular area for tourists from all around the world. It is pretty well established. The key here is that there are super economic places to stay and eat as well as more upscale resorts and restaurants and everything in between. It really has a lot to offer any kind of traveler. With that being said, it does get super crowded.
If you are walking down the street that runs along the beach, you will see a very big, trendy, and modern shopping center along with hotels with beautiful views and great dining. It’s hard to tell you are in Bali when the area looks like any popular coastal town in the U.S.
This is the beach you can really spend an entire day on. There are plenty of little places right on the beach that sell drinks and even snacks, so you can just walk over and grab something to keep you going (my favorite is fresh coconut! IT has lots of water in it to keep you hydrated). Some even offer chairs and umbrellas to use while you enjoy their products.
There are usually some pretty awesome waves for all sorts of surfer levels. If you have ever thought about learning to surf, this is the spot for it! There are lots of locals offering surfing lessons and surfboard rentals right on the beach. A surfboard rental for a couple of hours is about $5USD, with a lesson, about double that. Rob decided to brush up on his surfing while we spent the day at this beach and he absolutely loved it! I’m more of a boogie board kinda girl. We both had a great time out on the waves at this beach.
It’s also great that this beach has showers and bathrooms. After you’ve had your time on in the water and gotten plenty of sun, you can rinse off and enjoy one of the most perfect Bali sunsets on this beach. It’s no wonder so many folks plop down on the sand right around the sun starts going down.
Padang Padang Beach
Padang Padang beach is known as being a locals beach. It’s a bit further away from the popular areas of Seminyak and Kuta so some tourists may not be inclined to pay the cab fare, so it may seem that more of the Balinese locals occupy this beach.
It’s not a very long area like Kuta and Seminyak. However, the sand is softer and the water is turquoise blue, so it definitely is one of those “paradise” looking beaches. Since it’s only a medium sized beach, it might be a little hard to find a spot if you go on a holiday or a Sunday.
There are vendors at this beach also, but they are all in one spot and you can be sure they are not going to come up to you all the time. That being sait, you can purchase snacks and drinks all day on this beach.
It’s a little tricky getting down to the beach here. It is located at the bottom of a pretty tall cliff so there are lots of stairs to go down (and then climb back up after). Is is worth the hour drive from Kuta if you want to experience a really beautiful beach. As always in Bali, the sunset here is spectacular!
Blue Point Beach
If you think Padang Padang is a hard beach to get to, then you are in trouble if you are going to Blue Point Beach. The cliff here is much taller so there are several more steps to go down to reach the beach. If you get tired, you can always take a “rest stop” at one of the many bars and restaurant that hang on the side of the cliff on your way down. It’s so far down that there are surf shops and souvenir shops on your way down, too!
Once you’ve made it down, you will be surprised at how small the actual beach is. The sand and the turquoise waters are beautiful and you also have the added beauty of the cliffside and some of the caves and caverns in it.
This is really a surfer’s heaven. The waves are for those that are pros at surfing and there are lots and lots of them out on the water each day here.
We visited this beach on two different occasions and it looked very different each time. The first time (in June), the tide had come in and there was not much beach once we were at the bottom of the cliff. The second time (mid July), the water had gone very far back, revealing the volcanic rock beneath and creating pools in the various sized holes. It was truly magnificent!
Make sure you leave yourself some energy for your hike back up all those stairs at the end of the day.
Now, this beach is probably my personal favorite.
It takes about 25 minutes to get here (with the usual traffic) from Kuta and is very easy to navigate to. My favorite part of this beach is that it is not at all crowded. Not only is it a good sized beach, but also, not that many people go here during the day, surprisingly.
Vendors walk the beach selling fresh fruit and snacks. However, we were pleasantly surprised that there are some great restaurants on the beach as well. They offer great local and Western food and some also specialize in seafood. They have tables and chairs set up with umbrellas right on the sand for the ultimate beach dining experience. They are very budget friendly and have great serving portions. We enjoyed a wonderful lunch on the full day we spent here.
Come sunset time, these restaurants expand their seating on the sand almost to the edge of the beach. We realized later that this is a very popular spot for sunset dining, and it’s no wonder!
I highly recommend this beach for great swimming and quiet lazy beach days followed by an amazing sunset dinner. You just can’t go wrong!
Nusa Dua Beach
It might not be fair for me to say that I did not like this beach at all. I mean, there’s a reason that so many resorts line the coast here. I just don’t see that reason. Or maybe that is the reason I did not particularly enjoy it as much as the other beaches we visited.
It may have also been the time of year that we visited. The tide was low and the beach was only inhabited by those sunbathing. It was not very inviting for swimming. Although, it is probably great for water sports such as jet skiing.